In a historic development, Paul Cambria, the First Amendment attorney who is also general counsel for the Adult Freedom Foundation (AFF), along with fellow industry attorneys Jeffrey Douglas and Greg Piccionelli and others, today met with FBI officials regarding the 2257 inspection process.
Cambria said the meeting signaled what appears to be the beginning of a better dialogue between the FBI and the industry as the random inspections continue.
“We just met with a number of FBI agents who are in charge of the 2257 inspection process,” Cambria told AVN.com. “A number of companies were invited and we just came to that meeting at the FBI headquarters in Washington. The purpose of the meeting as described by the FBI agents, by the attorneys and offices of general counsel, was to explain the inspection process to us and attempt to have a dialogue which would result in an easier inspection process.
“And we did have that dialogue and I think it was beneficial to the adult industry. We have a clearer understanding now of their procedures and I think that we have opened up a channel of communication to try to make the inspection process a more productive and less onerous one from the standpoint of the adult industry.”
Douglas told AVN.com that the FBI indicated it is open to "a variety of means of communication," and it is not limiting those opportunities to industry heavyweights. The bureau is open to a dialogue with companies both large and small, regardless if they have attorneys representing them, he said.
"Collectively, we are working on ways for the FBI to communicate their goals and their methods, to communicate that which needs to be communicated to the industry," Douglas added.
"... This is a historic meeting between representatives of adult entertainment companies and the government. There has never been a meeting of this type."
According to Douglas, a particularly noteworthy moment on Thursday came when Chip Burrus, the FBI's assistant director, criminal investigation division, acknowledged that his organization "cannot effectively inspect or regulate an industry without an understanding or dialogue with the industry."
"It was a rare and precious moment that they acknowledged they are attempting to regulate an industry without a dialogue," Douglas said. "They are attempting to regulate us but won’t talk to us."
"And they were seeking to remedy that with this dialogue that they have commenced," Piccionelli said.
Both Piccionelli and Douglas indicated the group was seeking to expand that dialogue with the "broadest possible representation of the industry."
Cambria concluded, "It was a positive meeting and beneficial and we’ve opened up a line of communication. We clarified some areas that we thought were gray areas."
The FBI over the summer began making unannounced visits to adult production companies to check 2257 records. Under Section 2257 of Title 18, Part I, Chaper 110 of the United States Code, the producer of any book, magazine, video or film is required to keep records of anyone performing sexually explicit acts after July 3, 1995, such as their name and date of birth along with documents providing proof of such information. That includes other names the performer has used.
The companies that have received visits so far are Evasive Angles, Legend Video, Darkside Entertainment, Diabolic Video, Sunshine Films and Robert Hill Releasing.
In another development, FBI officials indicated in Thursday's meeting they are considering releasing an official statement about the 2257 inspections to industry news websites in the near future. That statement will be published here as soon as it's available.